Position Analysis: Interior Defensive Line
The Candidates: 94 Waylon Roberson (6-2, 338 Jr) 97 Chuks Ota (6-2, 308 Soph.) 90 Marcus Hudson (6-4, 293 RFr.) 57 Jake Swalley (6-2, 292 Jr.), 47 Robert Mondie (6-2, 321 Sr.), 98 Clifford Thomas (6-2, 283 RSo.), 87 Javier Carbonell (6-2, 285 Fr.), 91 Donovan Ransom (6-1, 270 Fr.) 25 Dee Liner (6-3, 295 Jr.), 96 Eugene Sutton (6-3, 293 So.).
NOSE TACKLE, Waylon Roberson, Marcus Hudson, Chucks Ota.
TACKLE, Robert Mondie, Jake Swalley, and Dee Liner (If eligible).
The Numbers: The 2014 season started well for the interior of the defensive line, as the Red Wolves came up with a good start in a 2-2 beginning, but injuries along the line forced true freshmen into the mix and the year finished with a game that ended with Toledo rolling up 350-plus yards rushing and 7 touchdowns. The top returning tackler is Chuks Ota, who wrapped up 22 tackles, with 3 for a loss and 1.5 sacks. Clifford Thomas had 15 tackles and 1.5 for a loss. Eugene Sutton was the only other member of the unit that recorded a tackle in 2014.
The Analysis: As Defensive Coordinator Joe Cauthen put it, at the end of the season, Arkansas State couldn't stop a hard charging marching band. With that in mind, the coaching staff hit the recruiting trail hard, picking up JUCO tackles Waylon Roberson and Jake Swalley. UAB dropping football resulted in gaining former UAB tackle Robert Mondie, brother of offensive lineman Devin Mondie. The addition of freshmen Donovan Ransom and Javier Carbonell, plus the addition of Alabama transfer Dee Liner has given the interior line an entire new look.
One look and the casual observer can tell there is more mass on the line, with Chuks Ota and Clifford Thomas joining the newcomers.
Unfortunately, Eugene Sutton suffered an ACL tear during the spring period and will miss the season. Ransom and Carbonell have earned praise from the coaching staff. Though during the last scrimmage most of the nose tackles sat out, none are seriously injured, which is great news.
This unit can't help but be better than it was at the end of last year, because of experience and the added depth from recruiting.
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